coriander tamarind dressing with paneer salad

coriander tamarind dressing with paneer salad | A Brown Table

The only "Indian" salad dressing I can think of growing up with, was a splash of lemon or lime juice with salt and pepper. I think this might be in part due to vegetables both fresh and cooked occupying a central portion of  Indian cuisine, salads and at least back then, they got less attention. Though this salad dressing is no where near being traditional, it's based on using some delicious ingredients and flavors used commonly to add flavor in Indian cooking and you will love it for it's combination of hot, sweet and tart flavors. Tamarind, honey, chili and coriander really give this dressing a unique edge that makes this perfect for any salad. I've also thrown in some lightly fried and crisped up paneer cubes for protein. I love using paneer in many things other than the usual curries as it can hold it's texture rather well and is of course, delicious!

All you need is a good food processor to make this creamy dressing and chop up some of the veggies in this salad. To grab the recipe and learn how to make this salad dressing and this salad head over to the KitchenAid Blog!

coriander tamarind dressing with paneer salad | A Brown Table
coriander tamarind dressing with paneer salad | A Brown Table
coriander tamarind dressing with paneer salad | A Brown Table
coriander tamarind dressing with paneer salad | A Brown Table

Disclaimer: Thank you to KitchenAid for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Fruit Salad Chaat

Fruit Salad Chaat (An Indian fruit salad) | A Brown Table

I've spoken about my love for chaat masala several times, it's perhaps one of the most unique and diverse spice mixes that you can find and this week I'm sharing one of my favorite fruit salad recipes over at Food52. Chaat masala, is essentially a delicious and aromatic concoction of spices and black salt (kala namak in Hindi), a few thinly sliced chili peppers and a generous splash of fresh lime juice. It's sweet, tangy with a hint of heat making it the perfect addition to your summer barbecue or weekend meal!  

Here are some of the things I've been reading this week,

If  you haven't already heard of Socality Barbie, she's funny and it's worth a good laugh!

This chocolate pudding!

Homemade Milano Cookies that look and taste perfect.

This rainbow colored veggie stuffed sandwich looks beautiful!

 

 

masala chai

Masala Chai | A Brown Table

I decided to get an orchid from the Mountain View Farmer's market. It's not like I've had a lot of luck with them in the past but they are so beautiful that I find it hard to resist. Let's just hope this one lasts and after all the flowers are gone, this plant will sprout some new buds. Here's to some wishful thinking! If you have any orchid tips, do let me know, I need all the help I can get.

Orchids | A Brown TableMasala Chai | A Brown Table

This weekend, my buddies, Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet and Phi of Princess Tofu came over to spend a day. If you follow us on Instagram you might have noticed all the insane amount of eating, cooking and photographing that happened. I took the girls out to try some Indian street food at one of my favorite chaat houses in South Bay, followed by a trip to an Indian grocery store, some pumpkin picking, some cooking, more eating, photography and a whole lot of chatting. And there was chai, we had lots of it, I could think of no better way than to spend my day with these two extremely talented people. 

Masala Chai | A Brown Table

Chai is a ritual habit for some and Indian houses make masala chai in several different ways. Here are some of my tips on making chai at home,

  • I buy loose black tea (tea bags are good) and I generally use the Assam black tea variety at home.
  • Chai (tea) with no spices (masala), is simply called chai in Hindi. There are several different types and combinations of spices that can be added to tea. Some people prefer some more to others. Personally, I prefer green cardamom and ginger in my masala chai, I use them individually or together depending on what I have in the house. Either way of all the spices I've listed in my recipe here, green cardamom and ginger are my top choices. (I haven't shown cloves and peppercorns in the photograph but they are good additions to the masala (spice) blend.
  • Adding the ingredients at the right temperature to the water is important because it helps in infusing the flavors correctly. 
  • When crushing the spices, just crush them once or twice with a mortar and pestle to release the seeds, do not over grind or pound them excessively into a powder. 
  • For sweeteners, you can use sugar, honey or even raw Indian sugar - jaggery. 
  • Milk or any other non-dairy milk is completely optional. 
Masala Chai | A Brown Table

masala chai

yields : 4 cups

ingredients

4 cups water

1 inch piece ginger root

4 whole green cardamom pods, crushed

1 black cardamom pod, crushed (optional)

1 inch piece cinnamon stick (optional)

6-8 black peppercorns, crushed (optional)

4 whole cloves, crushed (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons black tea leaves  (Assam tea)

around 1 /2 cup hot milk or what ever kind of vegetarian milk you prefer (rice, soy or nut based) (amount used might be more or less depending  upon your personal preference on how dark or light you want the tea)

sugar to sweeten as needed 

1. Place the water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium high and add the spices immediately.Bo (I always add either ginger and/or green cardamom, the rest are all optional). 

2. Remove the saucepan from the stove and allow to the spices to infuse for about 4-5 minutes. Place the saucepan back on the stove and bring to a boil on medium high. As soon as the water begins to boil, add the tea leaves and reduce the flame to low. Allow the liquid to boil for about 30 seconds and remove from stove. Cover with a lid and allow to sit for 1 minute. 

4. To serve, pass the hot tea through a tea strainer to get rid of the tea leaves and spices into a teapot or teacup (as needed). Add enough milk to get a light brown color (depends on how dark or light you like your tea) and sweeten as needed. Serve hot with cookies or pastries. 

dum aloo

dum aloo - Pan Seared Baby Potaotes in a Spicy Indian Tomato Yogurt Gravy | A Brown Table

Comfort food means different things to everyone, I get a little baffled when people ask me to name my favorite. For one, I have a favorite comfort food for each meal of the day, my choices also vary by season and my favorites will vary and if that isn't crazy enough, sometimes I want to pick my favorite comfort food by geography. But despite this overwhelming web of complexity that I create for myself, it would be easier for me to pick my favorite comfort ingredients. In that list, without a doubt I'd definitely include potatoes!

dum aloo - Pan Seared Baby Potaotes in a Spicy Indian Tomato Yogurt Gravy | A Brown Table

One of my favorite ways to prepare potatoes is in this spicy, tangy and creamy sauce that hails from the North of India known dum aloo. Dum is a cooking technique where vegetables or meats are allowed to cook in their own steam and the vapors of a small amount of fat. We ate this dish often as kids and I'm sure my father still makes this dish whenever possible, as this is one of his favorites.

Traditionally, baby potatoes are deep-fried and then folded into a simmering pot of a rich cream and yogurt based sauce. This version is a little different, for one, I decided to brighten the colors a little by using a bag of mixed colored baby potatoes. Fingerlings would also work great here! I skipped the deep-frying part and instead decided to sear the potatoes in their jackets ,a little and cook them until they were lightly crisp and browned on each side. Instead of heavy cream, I scaled up the amount of plain yogurt and got a thicker and richer flavor using the Greek kind. 

dum aloo - Pan Seared Baby Potaotes in a Spicy Indian Tomato Yogurt Gravy | A Brown Table

You can use ghee (the more traditional choice) or olive oil here, it's up to you. Fresh tomatoes and aromatics make the base of this delicious sauce that is flavored with a delicious mixture of spices. Serve this dum aloo fresh and hot with a side of India flatbread such as roti or naan or even plain rice and a side of chilled plain yogurt and a salad.  

dum aloo - Pan Seared Baby Potaotes in a Spicy Indian Tomato Yogurt Gravy | A Brown Table

dum aloo

yields: 4 servings

ingredients 

2 lbs baby potatoes (colored)/ fingerlings

3 tablespoons ghee/olive oil 

2 cups tomatoes, diced

1 cup red onion, diced 

1 thai chili pepper 

1 garlic clove

1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and chopped

2 cloves

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds 

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric 

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt 

3/4  cup plain greek yogurt, lightly whipped

a little fresh cilantro for garnish

1.  Rinse the potatoes under cold tap water, wipe them dry and slice the potatoes in half across their length.   Prick the potatoes twice with the prongs of a fork. Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet with a lid on a medium-low flame. Add 1 tablespoon of the ghee/oil and heat for 30 seconds. Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook them on each side until they are lightly browned and get light brown blisters on each side. This should take about 6-8 minutes. Remove the potatoes and sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. The potatoes should be almost tender but not completely cooked.

2. Grind all the ingredients from the tomatoes to the turmeric in a blender until smooth. Keep aside. (You can also grind the tomato-chili-ginger-garlic and dry spices separately and then mix them together but I find this to a better way as it uses less equipment and the cleanup is less)

3. Heat the rest of the oil in a wok or saucepan with a lid on medium-high. Add the pureed tomato spice mixture from step 2. Cook this sauce for about 3-4 minutes with occasional stirring. Reduce the flame immediately to a gentle simmer, add the rest of the salt and fold in the potatoes. Cover with the wok with its lid and allow to cook untii the potatoes are completely tender but not mushy. This should take about 15 minutes. Once the potatoes are cooked, fold in the yogurt. Cook with constant stirring (to prevent burning) for about 2 minutes and remove from stove. The sauce should be thick in consistency. Taste the sauce to make sure the amount of salt is enough. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot with rice, roti or naan.